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NP: July 17, 1864 Sunday Mercury (New York): 95th NY at the Second Battle of Petersburg, June 18, 1864

Editor’s Note: This letter to the Sunday Mercury appears here due to Bill Styple’s fantastic book Writing and Fighting the Civil War, which is where I first learned about these amazing soldier letters.  You can purchase a copy of Writing and Fighting the Civil War at Belle Grove Publishing.

Ninety-Fifth Regiment, N. Y. V.

[Special Correspondence of the N. Y. Sunday Mercury.]


Position of our Forces—Petersburg in Sight—What the Ninety-fifth has Done—Hot Work and Weather—No Greenbacks.

We are just now lying in the front line of our works on the right of the Fifth Corps [in front of Petersburg, Virginia]. The Rebel line is distant about three hundred yards. Their position is naturally an advantageous one; and being made trebly strong by well-planned and constructed earthworks of a truly formidable character, it will render an attempt of ours to take them by assault red-hot work.

Not far to our right (the left of the Ninth Corps) our line is advanced to within one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy. The church spires of Petersburg are plainly visible from this point; and for several day past they have served as targets for our artillerists, who play upon them at intervals.

The Ninety-fifth [New York] left Culpepper Court House on the 3d of May [1864], five hundred strong, commanded by Col. Edward Pye; since mortally wounded at Coal [sic, Cold]Harbor, June 2; died at Alexandria, June 12. His loss is deeply deplored by all of us, as he was truly a soldier’s friend. On the 5th inst. [May 5, 1864] we deployed as skirmishers; found the Rebs at 1 o’clock, P. M., fought until 8 P. M.; renewed the battle at daylight on the 6th inst. [May 6, 1864], and continued engaged throughout the ever-memorable battles of the Wilderness and the Po1. In these engagements, we lost in the neighborhood of 150 killed and wounded. Companies A and E, officers and all, were captured on the 6th inst. We had hot work at Spotsylvania Court House, on the south bank of the North Anna, at Coal [sic, Cold] Harbor, and later still here. In the charge our division (Cutler’s) [4/V/AotP/Union] made on the 18th [of June, 1864 at the Second Battle of Petersburg], our regiment suffered severely. Among the wounded was Lieutenant-Colonel James Crusey [sic, Creney], who, after being twice wounded, refused to be carried from the field, saying to those who were anxious to assist him, “Go forward, and take the enemy’s works.” I am glad to hear colonel Crusey’s [sic, Creney’s] wounds are doing well. We stack at the present time 107 muskets.2 Out of the ninety-odd men in my company who left Staten Island in March, 1862, I am the only one at present fit for duty. The weather is very warm here just now; the ground so dry as to be well-nigh blistered. Blue-tailed fleas, sandflies, and that fixed institution of ours, the Army “crumb”, are as thick as humbugs. We are just in receipt of the news of the sinking of the Alabama by the Kearsarge, and another invasion “my Maryland”. We are glad to hear of the discomfiture of “Old Beeswax”, and we hope that, ere long, the Rebel raiders who have lately crossed the Potomac will meet with an end as disastrous as that of the pirate “296”.  We don’t see any greenback “about yer”. Can’t account for the non-appearance of the Paymaster, unless [recently active Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P.] Chase took the pile.

Yours,              ALLEGHANY.3

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18640717NYSundayMercuryP7C3 95thNYLetter


Soldier Letters from the New York Sunday Mercury:


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: Using Steven Newton’s method for converting effectives to Present for Duty strength, we take (107/.93) x 1.065=~123 officers and men present for duty.
  3. “Ninety-Fifth Regiment, N. Y. V.” Sunday Mercury (New York, New York). July 17, 1864, p. 7 col. 3
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